tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 21, 2014 10:30pm-12:31am EDT
what is the university doing to implement some level of protections? >> one of the major changes we have seen occurring across the field is the effort to get pre-concussion data. more schools are moving to observing students before the start of the season. should a player be injured, one of the weaknesses is the players do not always self identify. we run across that a number of times in our testing. we will pick up something on our tests that the trainers and medical team did not know about because the player did not disclose. we also try to test someone else who plays a similar position has not been injured.
they act as a control over the course of the season. we are finding what occurs across the season in normal players with no history of concussion, their speed of processing does change over the four or five months of training and the season. with the players who experience concussion, we see a slowdown of about 200 milliseconds. that is four times faster than the slowdown in multiple sclerosis, for contrast. clearly, the brain has changed the way it is processing. we are moving to start intervention programs with the players identified. there is some data with alzheimer's that suggest working memory tasks, even one week, can show continual gain and
improvements. we are trying to see some of that occurring. >> thank you. dr. gay, in regard to concussions, many times it is not a direct blow. the head is going back and forth and the brain is sloshing around. you mentioned going back to 1970's type equipment. describe what you mean by 1970's equipment and how it may reduce concussions. >> the neck roll or horse collar is a piece of equipment that has disappeared from the game. it does an important thing. it immobilizes the head. if concussions are incurred by rattling of the head back and forth or a blow to the side, the
horse collar will substantially damp that down. to my knowledge, there are no studies of that being effective. my personal opinion, even though i am largely ignorant of medical science, is if you immobilize the head, that will solve a lot of the problems, especially with rotational hits. yeah. >> dr. graham, does that make sense? >> whether or not the horse collar would have that effect, i don't know. our committee was based truly on science and reviewing the literature. i think the principle is you want to find ways to minimize the linear and rotational forces that come into effect with a blow to the head. whether you can do that by
equipment, by change in play, that is what you have to do to decrease the incidence of concussion. >> thank you. i only have 11 seconds left. i will recognize my ranking member. >> in addition to the science, so much talk has been about culture. it seems that is very important. a change in the culture means not only managing head injuries when they occur, but also encouraging safer play to reduce the risk of injuries. mr. heaton, you spoke about the need to change the win at all costs attitude among players and coaches. what would you tell teams to
help them change that attitude? >> thank you. i would encourage the coaches to stress this as much as possible, as well as the parents. coaches and parents are there to help us learn how to play these sports correctly. if they can emphasize not having to worry about winning to the point where you get hurt, it will trickle down to the players. the players become coaches. it is the cycle of teaching and making sure players no winning is not the most important thing. it feels great to win. but i would much rather lose than have another concussion. >> you were aware of the severe consequences of brain injury. do you think youth athletes understand what the symptoms are? >> yes.
i think it is getting better, especially at my school. we emphasize making sure you know the symptoms of concussions. i feel like it is spreading as well. >> when he asked the doctor. >> at this point, the education programs are being directed toward athletes. about five or six years ago, there was a study that showed that that was the number one reason why athletes were not coming out of the game, because they did not know the symptomology. they did not know what they were dealing with. we also believe athletes and teammates need to watch out for each other. the concussed athlete may not have the wherewithal to know they are not right. their teammate often does. there is a responsibility within that team to take care of each
other. that is an important focus. >> that goes to culture as well. these explain how advanced neuroimaging works. describe the type of changes in the brain your lab is able to detect that traditional imaging cannot, and also some of the imaging used by your lab have been a significant part of the research on diseases like alzheimer's and schizophrenia. why are the same imaging techniques useful? >> i have one slide that explains diffusion imaging. >> the one i did not understand was comparing soccer players? >> i was going to show you why it is important.
the injury that happens with the impact to the brain is generally a stretching of the cables in the brain, the white matter. the corpus callosum is the largest white matter track in the brain. this does not show up on traditional ct or mri. the first mild tbi conference i went to, no one showed a brain. i looked to my colleague and said, why would no one show a brain? he said because everyone knows you cannot see anything on the brain. brain. but nobody is using the right tools. this is a simple principle of diffusion imaging. on the left, this is ink that goes in all directions. you are dropping ink on newspaper. newspaper has fiber so it restricts the water. this is the same principle used
to look at the brain. in cfs, it is round. everything goes in the same direction. if you're looking at white matter, you are restricted in two directions. you can measure the integrity of white matter fiber bundles in the brain. that is what you need to look at in mild tbi. if you have a moderate or severe brain injury, you don't need this technology. they will be put into neurosurgery and they will do an operation. it is the subtle brain injuries that are not recognized using conventional imaging where you can recognize it if you use something like diffusion imaging. we have shown you can see. it is not just our group. starting in 2003, people started using it because it is the most sensitive imaging tool that
exists today looking at the major injury in mild tbi. what needs to be done is to look at acute injury and see what predicts outcome. at 72 hours, three months, six months. can we predict what happens at 72 hours? we have someone in our lab trying to separate water outside the brain. if you can predict from 72 hours, you can go back and say maybe we want to put in anti-inflammatory medications. we don't know enough right now. the only way to know is to do these longitudinal studies and follow over time using sophisticated imaging technology. once you know, you can diagnose.
>> this could be very promising, not only for athletes before returning veterans, and applied eventually to schizophrenia or alzheimer's. >> i am primarily schizophrenia research. that is what i have done for 30 years before i became a tbi researcher in 2008. we have a measure called free water based on imaging that shows at the first episode of schizophrenia, you see fluid around all of the brain. it is free water. it is isotropic. in the frontal lobe, you see it were restricted to tissue inside. this is a new technique developed by a fulbright scholar in our lab from israel. >> i'm going to have to say thank you. >> thank you. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized.
>> dr. johnston, you stated many sports related concussions still go undiagnosed. i would like to know why that is the case and how we can improve that. with state laws and the involvement of players, coaches, pta's, areas where we need to have improvement. >> thank you for the question. i would echo what has been said by others on the panel. i think a lot of it has to do with recognition. people are very good at recognizing when someone gets knocked out on the field. that is a very small percentage of all concussions. as our understanding of the symptoms has arisen, it becomes incumbent on us to improve the quality of education we give to coaches, players, trainers,
officials about the symptoms of concussion. my sense is in general, culture, speaking to the state of alabama, the coaches i have come into contact with are believers. they are not purposely hiding kids and putting them back in with concussions. sometimes it is hard to recognize when young athletes do not tell you how they are feeling. we brought up the importance of teammates being involved in diagnosing players. >> how close are we to a better design for helmets? >> i think we are at the beginning. we have been using a standard that has not changed for 40 years that was designed for skull fractures. many investigators are working to improve standards to include
acceleration as well as other important aspects of impact. just as the automotive industry did with safety ratings, the market can be relied upon for manufacturers to improve designs to improve sales. i think standards are important part of the equation. >> thank you. dr. gay, you discussed the fact there is a numerical rating system for helmet impact. it is designed at virginia tech, the star system. you called it the best tool we have for analyzing the merits of helmet systems. can you describe how it works? >> basically, it involves a test where you drop the helmet from a given height, varying height, to
the side, front, back. it tries to simulate the kind of impact a player would experience. numerical scores are given to the maximum acceleration the head inside the helmet feels for the given drops, based on a crude initial model of what causes concussions. it does not take into account rotation or temperature. in my opinion, the reproducibility is not as good as one would like with these tests. i think it is a good first start. it is the best we have right now. i think it needs to be paid attention to.
there is a lot of room for improvement. >> thank you. how old are you and what grade are you in? >> i am the senior. congratulations to you for going on to college. i have a daughter who is a freshman. that means he is a little older than you, but i will be happy to introduce you. i am proud of your testimony. i could not have done what you did. nation has benefited by your testimony. >> thank you. the gentleman from mississippi is recognized. >> thank you for being here on
what is a topic we are only starting to learn about. it has been in the news for several years, that is coming to the forefront. work and testimony will be beneficial to us. parent of a 24-year-old, i appreciate the work you do at the children's hospital. preparation, i had some discussion with parents back home. discussion is i have several friends who have daughters playing youth soccer.
they reported an increase in the number of concussions suffered by young ladies playing youth soccer. we have seen in the news, all the news associated with the nfl, helmet-to-helmet contact, and concussions we see on the field of play, but it appears in everything we do in life, every sporting event there is that danger and risk. that is why i think what you're doing with it in alabama, dr. johnston, what we're doing with coaches, parents, and perhaps using the teammate approach, it may be the safest thing, to have the backup position player be the one to report to the first team when they come out. that might get them off the field. dr. johnston, educate us, what is a subconcussive impact? what does that mean?
should subconcussive impacts affect rules of play, and if so, how? >> i think the definition of a subconcussive impact would be all those impacts that happen that do not result in a concussion. as has been pointed out, the rub with concussion is the diagnosis part. if you look at historical studies, is variable and a lot of that has to do with who is diagnosing it and males versus females, whether or not men or more likely to report symptoms, but a subconcussive impact, and all those other impacts where we have more information to the work that has been done in boston and other places that even these impacts have results in terms of anatomical structure changes the brain over time. it needs to be addressed in terms of lessening the overall
cumulative impact load that every player has. football is the most obvious thing in terms of how many practices a week children should do hitting, but that has applications for all sports. >> thank you. if i could ask you a question, for clarification, if i can ask them, the 77% of military, that figure, is that how many of the tbi faces have suffered concussions? >> trying to bring in -- 77% are concussions, mild tbi. >> can you talk about the work you are doing? is it practical, something we can expect to be rolled out to the sidelines across america, to diagnose for athletes, and
perhaps onto battlefields to diagnose our warriors? >> it is very possible. we published a paper last year where we took one of our e.g. systems and recorded on the sideline of the field. the biggest challenge for us in making it practical is getting the processing time down. for now it takes an hour. if we get it down to five minutes we can sell it to the coaches, because they are the ones who are going to determine. at this point, given all the other issues, the common tests used now are like the impact, which are assessment tools, questions to the player. they have to reflect, and may be foggy because of the concussion. these tests do not have predictability after two days post injury. that is a big problem. it does not predict recovery time, severity of the injury.
these biomarkers are the critical things. we hope these will be much more reliable and predictive. >> thank you for being here, and i yield back. >> thank you. generally, this would end, but we have questions, we are going to do a second round. plus, the bells are not going to go off for another seven minutes. jan has a conflict and she has given us approval that she is going to leave, but she trusts us to ask legitimate questions. >> let me thank this panel, in the previous panel as well. the intensity of the scientific research and then its application to the playing field and so many other fields, i really want to thank you for telling us what is going on. i also wanted to thank ian heaton for coming here today.
it is important to have people like brianna and ian to tell their stories and give us a face to the importance of this, and i want to thank the ftc for making sure that false claims are not made, but this is so important, so appreciated. we will have to figure out where it leaves us, that it has informed us. thank you. >> i would agree with every word of that. so this is a question to you, dr. shenton, and it dovetails into what the gentleman from mississippi was talking about as well. are the symptoms of a concussion or tbi uniform enough so that it is possible for early detection or developing a checklist for a coach or a parent to be used by
nonmedical? start with you, doctor. >> no. >> that was easy. >> the symptoms overlap with depression and ptsd and has been a real problem. there was a paper published in the "new england journal of medicine" that said when you remove the effects of depression and ptsd, mild tbi does not exist. that is a disservice. it used to be that people came in complaining they still had symptoms from hitting their head, there was no evidence from conventional mri or ct, they said, see a psychiatrist. it was really not appropriate because there is at least a small minority of people who have mild concussion who go on to have symptoms. they can go on for months, years, and then they can clear up. that is separating it from cte.
you need really logical evidence, the same way you want to know values of a blood test for cholesterol or a broken leg. we are moving in that direction, and that is what we need as the hard evidence, because the symptoms are too nonspecific. >> there are studies looking at a number of citizens, and a wide variety of these symptoms people report, there's no indication to report whether somebody reports lots of symptoms versus a few symptoms, that that has any relation to how long they will recover. >> can we get to a point where the seventh-grade coach, the seventh-grader takes a checklist that the coach could use to determine if that kid should go back into the game? >> there are guidelines out by the cdc and others that list
concussion symptoms. the general bias at this point is if an individual reports these symptoms they should be pulled. if you have a concussion and played before the symptoms have resolved, the likelihood of death is much greater, not to mention further significant concussion that will take longer to recover. >> this is one for dr. johnston. one of the debates occurring in nebraska right now is you have a child or a high school student that suffers a concussion. it has been diagnosed. what do you do next? right now the thought is you keep them home or her home, dark, no electronics. that is the norm. there is a discussion whether that is appropriate or not or to what length.
what do you know? what would you recommend? >> i will tell you how we handle things in alabama, which is once an athlete is diagnosed, removed from the field of play, evaluated, we use the sport concussion assessment tool, the scat tool, which is a sideline-based tool, which has a quick mini inventory of neurological exam and cognitive function. when children have symptoms that persist, they do not return to any sort of play or escalation effect until the symptoms have resolved. those children who have persistent symptoms are then referred to neuropsychologists. >> this is a big question at this point. this comes to what is the best
treatment for this injury. let me say the field is moving on this one. the recommendations we make, and i have written several papers on this, is that acute stage of symptoms, the first few days, maybe for some little bit longer if there is a more severe number of symptoms, they really reduce their activity, cognitive and physical. what you want to do is increase that activity over time, so we did not look at kids until they are asymptomatic. that has the likely negative effects on kids being removed. we initially shut them down and then we gradually bring them back into the school and to physical activity. that has to be individualized, based on the severity of that symptom presentation. that is where we are now. we need a lot of research to help validate that. >> thank you, and mr. lance?
gentleman from missouri gets to ask another question -- mississippi. [laughter] i thought you were billy long. >> that hurt. thank you, mr. chairman, in a couple of questions i would have. if we are looking at this -- dr. gay, if i may ask a question, in your testimony you stated football players are shedding mobility. the decision which helmet to wear is their own, and that player often chooses a helmet's looks over it collision-cushioning ability. do some positions require different levels of collision cushioning, and if so, would you recommend a special helmet for a specific position?
>> a great question. currently, there are no position-specific helmets. not tould say that belabor the point, but for alignment, were you to believe we get no severe hits but a lot of concussive blows, the horse collar is crucial. that a wideoutnd where a horse collar. it is an interesting point. certainly some players might. this is why i am an advocate for the hit system. it will give us detailed information about which position gets hit where. if we have a large database. improving health and designed to react to information we got from
that information. you, how muchask money has been spent on sports concussion research? where is the funding coming from? >> unfortunately there is not an ,ssue our committee look that nor would we have had the resources to pull that out. clearly, you can identify some research that is being done in the federal sector that applies to this. the private research that may be done by a sports leagues, by manufacturers of equipment to themselves, i don't know any good way to quantify that for you. >> i appreciate everybody being here. it is an important issue. we love our children going through sports. we love to watch. we don't want anybody to be hurt that should be hurt. focuslly this increased
will lead to better research, protection, and of course, prevention. thank you very much. >> the gentleman from mississippi. >> i just want to thank. this was an all-star panel of medical experts. and physics. much appreciated. thank you. that does conclude our hearing for today. now, for our witnesses, we have the right to send you a question. a written question. we have 14 days to write those and submit them to you. . would appreciate if you can get them back to us if there are any within 14 days. i wanted thanks for coming out here providing very valuable
work? thing, this technology does not detect concussions. it merely detects impacts to the head. there is a skullcap and a censorship. and electronics. it will blink green for no impact. yellow for moderate impact. read for a severe impact of the head. impactesholds for that keeps proprietary. >> you write about 300,000 people involved in youth sports, and high school sports suffer from concussions during the year. what was this particular new jersey team experiencing with concussions prior to trying this acknowledge you? >> talking to players, you deftly hear a lot of them are
getting hits in the game. these were 17-19-year-olds. they skate fast, they hit hard. one player in particular recently suffered a concussion and was off the ice. he was coming back. they had just gotten these check light. "is will see better when they get hit while playing. >> you wrote about developing hit count standard for this technology. what are they trying to do why smart >> there is a group called the sports legacy institute trying to advance the hit count standard where players will wear the sensors that will keep track of the concussive hits that they sustained over time. theissue with that is science doesn't quite know how to interpret what a certain number of hits means. there is not an easy way to save you get a thousand hits or 100
hits, what you should do. >> based on the hearing we have covered, having you heard about any government involvement? >> that is a good question. g haven't heard anythin specific. >> is reebok the only one involved? >> they are the most prominent. there are other companies. one of the more interesting things about what reebok has otherthere are many sensor manufacturers and development that are meant to be integrated with the helmet or worn as a mouth guard. there is a company working on one that is a headband. albert sun is also on twitter
. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. professorkrainian crimea.russia and and the contributions of community health centers. then a health hearing examining injuries. >> i hope this is the last time it will be necessary to discuss the subject of the iran-contra committee. let me echo the sentiments expressed by the gentleman from indiana and thank him for the privilege of having served with him on the committee. it has been a difficult path. contentious and confusing process. produced aee has product that the house can be
proud of. now worry in the process of closing out our responsibilities. i would confirm what the gentleman from indiana indicated . the conversation today with the senior officials at the white house. we have the commitment that as of january 31, they will have completed their declassification of those materials committee has voted to release. that if the my word white house fails to meet that deadline, i would join with mr. hamilton in coming back to the floor at the appropriate time to seek a further extension of the life of the iran-contra committee. i don't expect that will be necessary. i colleagues on this side of the aisle, as the adoption of this resolution, investigation is complete, the committee will continue until march 1. as of march 1, the document will
be transferred to the archives. date, all of the requests for access to materials will wire majority vote. is a good. speaker it package. i think it is one that deserves the support of the house. i think it satisfies the concerns of many on this side of the aisle 10 days. i'm delighted we were able to work out the accommodation. i would at this point asked the chairman to yield and join with me with respect to explaining specifically what was meant in the paragraph resolution that deals with the committee closing affairs. forresolution provides only one exceptional provision the committee will have no further investigative power. committee select
prior to the date of the adoption of the resolution. with the gem and please explain for the benefit of the health what is covered by this? >> the jiminy yells. there are as i previously to pending requests for information. i am not aware of any other requests. >> find more highlights of coverage on our facebook page. c-span, created by american cable companies 35 years ago and brought to you today as a public service.
>> good afternoon. i am cory welt, the associate director of the institute for european, russian, and eurasian center and eurasian studies here at george washington university. at the institute i co-direct a program on new approaches to research and security in eurasia. it is a network of about a hundred scholars on russian and post-soviet affairs and includes experts from north america, russia, ukraine, other post-soviet states, and europe. the program is supported by the carnegie corporation of new york, macarthur foundation, and george washington university. we have been transfixed by the russian government's audacious invasion and annexation of crimea in ukraine. much of the conversation has concerned the response of the international community, the united states and the european union, and rightly so.
as well, the effectiveness of that response, and also there has been much discussion concerning the impact of russian actions on their future role in the region and its global status. we will address all these issues in our q and a and in our discussion as well. first, we would like to take some time to discuss the implications of this crisis on ukraine. we are fortunate to have several of our colleagues from ukraine in town for a conference. we have two of them who will speak to us today. ukraine is a country that has gone from a revolution to an external invasion within the matter of days. still reeling from this. also beginning to look forward to its political future and the
steps out of its current economic crisis. as well, we have the opportunity to discuss, try to make sense of russian policy in the region, russian actions in crimea, what the russian government seeks to achieve with the annexation of crimea, and also an issue that has not been discussed as much perhaps in recent days is the impact of russian actions on domestic politics and governance inside russia itself. we have an excellent panel.
first, we will have the associate professor of international relations and director of the center for international studies at a national university in odessa, ukraine. the professor has conducted research at the woodrow wilson international center of scholars. he has published numerous articles. next we will have a professor who is the chair of political science at kharkiv national university, kharkiv a major city in ukraine in the east. he is the founding editor of a journal for comparative studies. he has held visiting fellowships at the woodrow wilson center. he published a book, as well as other book chapters and articles on regime change in post-soviet eurasia. third, we will have a professor of e.u.-russian studies at a university in estonia.
he taught for 13 years at st. petersburg state university in russia. he has published on russian national identity and foreign policy and on russian domestic politics. he is the author of "russia and others." he is the editor of an article. finally we have a senior research scientist in the strategic studies division of a not for profit research organization. he is the editor of articles. he is an associate of the harvard university center for russian and eurasian studies. he was the executive director of the american center for the advancement of slavic studies. he has published numerous articles on these topics. he is the author of "nationalism for the masses." he blogs on issues related to the russian military. before i turn it over to the panel, i want to extend our appreciation to the carnegie corporation of new york, the macarthur foundation, and george washington university. i now turn the podium over to the professor.
>> thank you. i would like to say a few things about the crimea situation, secondly, about the situation in odessa and the south of ukraine. then a few things about the agenda for ukraine as a country, the way i see. finally, a few words on western support at these critical days. in crimea, we received another word that the referendum has been illegitimate, did not withstand criteria that we try
to apply to events of this sort. the commission has spoken today and added its voice characterizing this referendum as illegitimate. it has been a farce, a show in the worst traditions of totalitarian societies. the voices were not counted, the votes were not counted. what has happened in crimea is an armed robbery. it is when you have a gang of people entering a bank or an apartment and taking everyone hostage.
the situation does not change in the way that some people profess. some of us would like to see those people coming with those guns, because it is still an armed robbery. you steal something from someone else which is not yours. it was known there was no threat for the crimean population. russian speakers in crimea, there was nothing like nationals moving into crimea. it has all been created by the russian propaganda machine. what we are having in crimea, witnessing a human drama there of the highest degree and level. we have crimean tartars who have been extremely loyal to ukrainian statehood. they have been antagonistic to the russian invasion.
right now they are still there, trying to figure out what they are going to do next. there is a potential for confrontation there. we have seen episodes on tv that tartars have already buried one of their own. the young person was found there, dead. there were signs of torture. there have already been examples of tartars being pushed away from their land. there have been instances of one small hotel which belongs to a crimean tartar person being burned to the ground. we are to anticipate the russian government trying to buy tartars with positions in the regional government, financial assistance, giving them some land in various parts of the crimean peninsula. there will be some maneuvering back and forth. right now crimean tartars are
unhappy about what is happening to their land. and not just crimean tartars. let me remind you of two figures -- ethnic russians in crimea, they are the majority. 60% of the population. what about the 40% remaining not ethnic russians? also the most recent poll taken in crimea prior to the russian troops moving in, by democratic initiatives, have shown us only 41% of people in crimea were in favor of becoming part of russia. that is a high figure. what about the rest of the people? those voices are not hurt.
what we see today, people fleeing crimea, families being disunited. we are seeing internally displaced persons appearing in ukraine in vast numbers. in a city on the other side of the country, we have seen 2000 people coming from crimea looking for refuge. these people are going to need a place to stay and jobs, schools for their kids. so the human drama happening before our own eyes. what is going to happen to crimean next? what should we do about crimea? it is an annexation, occupation, and crimea still remains part of ukraine. the troops and many people in ukraine share the same assumption that ukrainian troops should be evacuated as soon as possible. some people might call it surrender. those people behaved bravely and
have shown signs of coverage and restraint. their behavior did not give pretext to russian troops for further invasion into other parts of ukraine. i believe the troops should be evacuated. there is debate on what we should do next in crimea. should we try to strangle crimea, should we cut their supply of water or not? a lot of people are debating this. i believe we should not be doing this because there are a lot of people who are innocent there, it is not their fault, that the referendum took place that annexation took place. we should not be doing anything that would make these people suffer unnecessarily. the big debate in ukraine is what should we do with the social payments, the pensions? should we continue or stop those? that is a big question. for the time being we should continue, even though it is difficult to do, especially considering our budget is kind
of empty. the other thing that we should continue to call this issue to the attention of international organizations, our friends and allies, an agenda of various organizations, and we should bring it to the courts. armed robbery is a robbery. when russia takes control of our oil, drilling facilities by the crimean shore, it is nothing else but robbery, and that should be seen as such by various courts. ukrainian government should go to courts as well. we are hearing voices involved in ukraine that we should nationalize some of the russian property belonging to the russian oligarchs in ukraine. that is not the way we should proceed. that would be a bad sign for any person taking about investing
money in ukraine, and we need investment now more so than it used to be in the previous years. speaking from my point of view, i do not think nationalization of russian property should take place. what is going on in odessa? [indiscernible] these figures are different in favor of maintaining territorial integrity. the figure there, the same poll, shows us only 24% of citizens, citizens of odessa, support the idea of becoming part of the russian federation. which means 3/4 of the population of odessa is not enthusiastic about this idea. the highest percentage is an area where you have 33% thinking about leaving ukraine and
joining russia. everywhere in the east and south of ukraine, you should be aware of that, most people, the vast majority are strongly in favor of maintaining territorial integrity of ukraine. why some people do come to the separatist camps? many of them are being brainwashed and subjected to russian propaganda, which has been carried for years by russian tv stations, ukrainian stations and also many local channels. many of them are senior citizens who have nostalgia for soviet times, so they are thinking of a time machine that would transport them 20, 30, 40 years ago, into the soviet past. that is another important element, segment of that kind of camp that i have been talking about. there is a constant manipulation of the language issue, of which you are well aware, and most of the calls are coming from kremlin moscow. i am russian-speaking ukrainian from odessa. i never felt persecution. i never felt any kind of fear of
this new government in kiev. i never felt any kind of scare of these so-called radicals coming to odessa to forbid me to use the russian language and talking to my friends and family. i am a pro-ukrainian-minded person, but i teach russian because that reflects the language situation in my hometown in the region. that has been a fact for years. what kind of repression against russian speakers are you talking about in the case of odessa or anywhere else in the south or east? finally, the separatist movement and the actions of that movement being well organized. no doubt about it. the scenarios, the plans were drafted long time ago. the moneys falling from the sky in colossal numbers on those people. it is almost limitless funding for someone who is in that kind of separatist movement in ukraine now. people brought from outside of ukraine, the same situation is in odessa, people who were brought from outside ukraine to odessa and many of them were brought from a nearby place, so there are a lot of people, basically younger thugs, who were brought to participate in
the destabilizing demonstrations and group meetings and attacks on public buildings in odessa. we have had cases like that. we should remember that the yanukovych -- of power is left untouched in many ways. a lot of people who were there are still there. a lot of people in law enforcement agencies feel disoriented, demoralized. the government in kiev is actually not very quick in working with these people and making them to do their job, which is, among other things, arrest the people who are attacking public buildings. speaking of courts, speaking of prosecutors, i for one believe most of those people should be fired, and a new bunch of people should be brought into their positions. that is a very important issue to us, because the judiciary branch of powers in ukraine was
nonexistent. same people there. how can we talk about a new government and reforms with the same people occupying those positions? that is a very important issue. the party in my hometown controlled everything in odessa. those are the people who are complacent in the crimes of regime of yanukovych, those are the people who are now taking part in separatist activities.
i believe that that should explain to you the situation we find ourselves in odessa. why is that there are some separatist demonstrations and actions that are not countered in an appropriate way? the security service has been heavily infiltrated by russian agents. it started happening before yanukovych came to power. since he came into power, that has been a fact of massive russian infiltration into the ukrainian security service. that is why what we see odessa in the south -- well formed, well organized, well funded. we have a strong ukrainian core in odessa.
it has been reinforced by russian aggression. we have people say we do not know about yanukovych. everything changed when russian troops came to crimea. people who were questioning political party loyalties, they are now united. that is very important. we have a lot of people taking part in various marches, singing anthems, social media is booming. there are soccer matches, under the slogan of south and east and west being together. the have a generational change in place because a lot of youngsters, most are pro-ukrainian, unlike senior citizens. we have intellectuals in odessa that came out in vast numbers. various actors, painters,
sculptors, they have made their own statements in support of territorial integrity. some of them have made a video saying -- [speaking in foreign language] "mr. putin, please go home." the other hand of the spectrum, there are people who are unknown in our city. nobody knows their names, where they came from. those people are aliens to odessa. they were not in existence prior to this event. we're talking about the brighter side, the activist side of odessans speaking for territorial integrity, while
there is a small bunch of troublemakers reinforced from outside that are funding organizations' activities in the east and south. for ukraine, there are several priorities today. first, to withstand the invasion, to stop russian aggression, to try to continue to fight for crimea, to prepare for further invasion. we hope it will not happen, but we need to be ready. to support armed forces. we are giving our money from our small salaries and from our own wallets to support our army. there have been millions of -- just in the one week. people are giving their money to support the army. the government should be supporting the army, providing money, and locating money, enough for the army to survive. that was not a fact in recent years. the army has almost been liberally destroyed in ukraine. people like myself, giving some of our savings to the army so the army could actually be
operating and performing its function. the second priority is to drag the country out of the deep economic pit they find themselves in. that would require accepting money from the international monetary fund, which requires us to do some drastic measures, radically increasing the payments that the people would have to do. that will not be popular, but that is needed. there's no other way to delay it. that needs to be done, the sooner the better. ukraine is deeply wounded now. we have a weak state. but we have a strong civil society. that is very important. civic organizations, ngo's are playing very active role in ukraine, keeping the country together. are we happy about everything
the new government in kiev does? absolutely not. there are issues about them being inclusiveness, about them indecisive. there are the same faces people are tired of seeing on the tv screens. whether we like it, we tell it, so, but for the time being we are coalescing, because we are under attack, so we need to stay united. finally, on the support we're receiving from the west and from the united states, we are very grateful for that support. we have been impatient. we have been thinking sanctions have been delayed. we have been thinking sanctions are not drastic enough. you bet we are. whatever support we are
receiving from this country, it is very important. symbolic and also a matter of fact, very important. the financial aid, we hope the bill will sail through congress. samantha powers is one of the most popular figures now in ukraine. i wrote on my facebook page the other day we would like to have her working part-time as the foreign minister of affairs in ukraine. that would be great for our country. a lot of people monitor her statements with delight. whatever assistance we might get, including ready-to-eat meals, rations, the recommitments of u.s. armed forces to support allies in nato, that is a good sign. the talk we are hearing talk about a joint exercise with nato and u.s. military, that is a good sign. we understand sanctions face a lot of difficulties. nothing moves fast enough in this town.
there are difficulties, it's a democratic country, so you need to coordinate activities with various agencies. it is not a country like ukraine where one person decides everything. finally, i just would like to say that we claim, we ask that the united states to the right thing. what the united states is doing now in supporting ukraine corresponds to the various interests of this country. the help we are receiving today is duly noticed by ukrainians. no doubt about it. we are grateful. we can see clearly now who our real friends are. thank you. >> thank you very much. that is the professor from the odessa national university. now i would like to invite to
the podium another professor from kharkiv national university. >> at the fall of the yanukovych regime and at the start of the crimean crisis, a number of eastern and southern ukrainian cities had experienced a wave of terrorist activities -- restoring the legitimacy of the government -- [indiscernible]
secularization or unification with the russian federation. in some places this was accompanied by disturbance of public order and [indiscernible] attempt to take over regional administration, rising of russian flags, demands of the referendum and for russia to introduce military troops to ukraine. such events have been called russian speak took place in kharkiv and odessa. [indiscernible] pro-russian forces proved to be small and they are weighted by much larger pro-ukrainian protests. a similar situation in --
in odessa, a protest of at least several thousand people strong, peaceful, in part due to the presence of small pro-ukrainian demonstration and the possibility of violent clashes. local elites have emphasized working within so-called legal frameworks. in my comments i will speak about the general context, actors, the position of ukrainian official authorities and local elites, and the role of russian government in the eastern and southern ukraine. [indiscernible] i will refer to eight regions of [indiscernible] odessa, and the republic of crimea and sevastopol.
together, the territories are composed of 23 millions of people, or about 40% of total population of ukraine. out of 23 million people, 14.5 millions are ethnic ukrainians, about 70%, and around 7 million are russian, 30% of combined population of this region. in other words, southeastern region is home to approximately 83% of ukrainians and russians [indiscernible] the rest of the russian population range from [indiscernible] to 72% in sevastopol.
sevastopol and other regions, ethnic russians account for part of the general population. 36% of the population. in crimea, about 60% of the population. everywhere ukrainians and russians are combined. 95% of the total populations. the exception in crimea where crimea tartars are an ethnic minority. particularly in the eastern region of ukraine. the communist party of ukraine has a level of support for significantly declined elections in 2007. during the 2012 elections, the support for the party ranged from 35% to 30% to 52% to 57%, depending on the region. around 65% in one region.
the russian nationalist party has traditionally been marginal in ukraine. that isn't -- in large part, that is due to the fact that the communist party of ukraine and other parties have been primary. any attempts at alternate political organization in odessa and hermia -- crimea brought in a movement. it has the potential to do much better than they have. the deposition of mr. yanukovych is one of the key sociological
direct correlation between the persecution of russians and supporting the unification with russia. several organizations have come forward. a variety of organizations. [listing ukranian organizations] one of the organizations his head -- headed by a man from a region of ukraine. there are several groups in odessa region. there is reason to believe that not all people who participate in the sevastopol protests want
to join the russian federation. there are a lot of different -- different motivations to participate in the protests. social and economic considerations. there are pro-russian groups. some participants speak russian and carry russian wife. -- flags. this is rather than direct unification. there was protests in kiev. it is a productive activity of the russian special service. there is also evidence of
protests of russian citizens who arrived from russia. not to downplay the importance of this protest. it is clear that the maidan protests were 50% of the ukrainian population. it is significantly high in the cities south and east of the country. anti-maidan protests occurred. some of these protesters were activated ideologically. on the other hand, besides of the protest in a death the -- odessa and other areas is simply
the case of russian organization. we should not overestimate this. in the direction of ukrainian authority developing in these areas, it is important to understand the political transition after the collapse of yanukovych's government. it has yet to be completed. there are three ways he can park himself from the system.
thousands of ukrainians are involved. there is a direct action -- defection of local elites from a party of power. to regions are examples of this defection of power. the second model is a transition. an arrangement to be part of local elites' form of our. -- power. there is an example of this in leaders of city council. we could make some arrangement with the new power about new governors. this is part of the transition that you can see in some regions of ukraine.
it is probably in the odessa region. the third model involves local elites again and local government. with the support of foreign military troops in crimea or with the support of paramilitary protesters, and with strong support from the local economical elite, -- anyway, in the aftermath of the revolution and important parts of regional elite, yanukovych's networks will lead to new power. there are separatist movements.
as you can see, you can see for example the governor of a certain region. even the city had -- head of one area has not created a new government. the local elites want to the port ukrainian -- support ukrainian protest in crimea. it is a model of inter-elite settlement. some eastern ukrainian regions are probably the best way to engage with local ely -- elites.
after some time, some regional elites may be similar to the ones who were targeted by anti-made on the test -- anti-made on -- maidan protests. the head of the fraction of the party has been openly speaking out about this. protection of the russian language and other eastern european regions. at the same time, yanukovych and his team have weakened the structure of the state. the replacement of security sensors is very slow. we may sometimes be subject to protests.
the consolidation of the state and their systematic attempts to appear protective vest -- protective vest -- protectivist. there was an arrest of a governor, and activist. there are some aggressive members of a blood organization. it happened in my home city. two people are dead around -- and around 12 were wounded. there is evidence of decline of productivity as the situation
annexation of crimea and sevastopol and the situation in ukraine, from an international point of view, it is the start of international relations. there is a chance for international order. from a domestic point of view, it is disintegration. it is the result of a shift in power in ukraine. local political regimes are characteristic of a different type of arrangements. thank you for your attention. [applause] >> thank you very much. now we have a professor from the university in estonia.
>> thank you. my presentation will be about russia and trying to make sense of the russian position and behavior and the situation. let me start by saying that russia as i see it is also going through difficult times. i do not mean that as a justification and by no means as an attempt to somehow downplay the plight of the ukrainians. but the country is divided between the brainwashed majority and a minority that feels threatened. that is not a good situation to be in. being at the border in estonia is also not emotionally an easy place. there is anxiety of the local community.
it is deeply concerned about possible consequences of the annexation of crimea from the baltic states. there are all sorts of conspiracy theories that we thought were conspiracies. now they are true. we do not know what to expect. let's try to make sense of what is going on. there are different explanations for what russia is trying to achieve. the simplest one is probably that russian behavior -- they just take whatever is there. this is simple geopolitical logic. it expands whenever you can expand. there is some truth to this explanation. i would say that it is not a full explanation. filling the empty space would imply -- it would imply inviting
other countries to join the union a long time ago. anything crimea and incorporating it into the russian federation, there are other areas that have long been requesting that. for some reason, it started with crimea. all of that could still happen. i would say that if it happens, it would have been because of crimea, not for other reasons. i feel uncomfortable describing russia's behavior is simply opportunistic and cold-blooded. there's too much passion in what is going on. there is a different explanation, which helps to clarify the situation in
tajikistan and curtis then -- 30 stand -- kyrgistan. we support a policy of defending russian interests wherever they are. this is why tajikistan and russian interests wherever they are. this is why tajikistan and kyrgistan are in this place. integrating them with russia would involve integrating the population. there is a possibility, but this is not a solution for ethnic nationalists. in crimea, they believe that they are helping fellow russians. that brings a lot of false
-- a lot of bonus points. i would hesitate to argue this case. for the sake of that experiment, -- thought experiment, let's say that the baltic states lose credibility. would russia hesitate to take them over? most of us now would say no. the baltic states would somehow be incorporated and included. if not annexed directly, that would be the next target. it would not stop. it would involve a repetition of the 1940's. this is an intuitive knowledge that we all have about the possible consequences of this watershed. it does not really fit into the
ethno-nationalist logic. it is the only thing that is out there in operation. another explanation is to say that this is domestically motivated. there is a potential economic crisis. to start a short, victorious war that would last long enough to divert attention from domestic problems. it were such a calculation, a cold-blooded calculation, it should have included some assessment of risk. i would not say that russia have that perspective. the costs are already there, the risks are huge for the the economy, in the first place. russian economy was stagnating. it was in pretty bad shape.
it was not collapsing. doing what russia does now strongly increases the possibility of a collapse. an economic collapse. basically, the logic that it would be ok -- what do we do? we risk collapsing the economy to prevent collapsing the economy. that does not sound very russian to me. again, we have to look at the picture. the whole operation was executed to skillfully. it is a mixture of different factors, and each in isolation extent,edible to some but not fully credible. we can go the usual academic way and say it is a combination of factors both i think there is a certain magic formula which if you apply it to the situation, it will actually put all of the
pieces of the puzzle in place. this magical formula might sound banal, but i'm still going to say it. this i mean it not as a policy. is the restoration of the soviet union. i am not going to try to prove that vladimir putin wants to restore the soviet union. i would argue that it has already happened. let me explain what i mean. russia is much smaller than the soviet union historically. it will probably never regained -- never be able to regain the land that it lost during the collapse. but the image of the world which is shared by the majority of the public is beyond its international borders.
vladimir putin's description of the ukrainian state being in crisis for the last 50 years, that is a view he shares. the post-soviet states are nothing but a quirk of history. their sovereignty is questionable to russians. in order to understand what is going on, one simply needs to look at these events as part of -- through the prism of the soviet worldview. ethnic nationalism was a key component of soviet ideology. we all know that. ethnic russians were the dominant group in the ussr. there were other officially recognized nationalities.
they had their moment and he -- and they enjoyed some autonomy. this is what relates to the crimean tatars today. there is more to crimea and support for russia. it was also justified by historical allusions. they saw as clear to anyone like myself who grew up in the ussr. every soviet boy or girl learns that. the land is soaked with russian blood. sevastopol is a place of russian naval glory. they are directly from soviet mythology. it is not even an interpretation. it is a direct quote. also explainsacy why propaganda has been so
effective in presenting the russian revolution as a fascist movement. there are cliches about ukrainian national movement. it was also based on the profoundly anti-western attitude inherited from the cold war. in this mentality, all political development derives from geopolitical struggle between the east and the west. there is no such thing as people asserting their sovereignty in the face of corrupt authoritarian regimes by going to the streets and protesting and fighting for the rights. everything that happened in ukraine or elsewhere, as long as it has not been plotted in moscow, it must've been plotted in washington. there is no other possibility. of course, the ukrainian revolution is seen as a victory for the west, not the ukrainians. if russia does not fight back,
the next maidan protest will happen in moscow. unfortunately, it seems that the crimean case has made it clear that the project of fostering a new national identity for russia, which was initiated in 1991 and 1992, has largely failed. instead, what happened was russian society has fallen back on the only shared legacy that it has. the memories and myth of empire. it is not just material myths. -- it is not just imperial myths. it is myths that have been promoted by the soviet system. the soviet system was the first universal system. universal education and universal indoctrination. everyone went to school.
everyone learned the cliches. these cliches now work. other nations in the post-soviet state have other memories. it appears that russia did not have anything like that. this is the main reason for this new identity project. the new generation, 10 years back, they will no longer be soviet. this new generation has fewer alternatives to choose from. since they have no first-hand experience of living with soviet times and experiencing the hardship of the soviet regime or soviet life, they were even more eager than the people in their 40's and 50's to embrace this new soviet identity. i would argue that with the russian nation involved in the taxation of crimea, the soviet -- in the annexation of crimea,
the soviet union has been restored in terms of political the identity of this political identity and in terms of global outlook. anyone who wants to understand what is going on and what to expect from the kremlin in the future must look at the soviet past. this does not give us 100% certainty. we cannot predict if ukraine will be intervened in. nothing may happen for the next few years or decades. but we can say that crimea with -- was a special case. very symbolic. it was very mythologized in this outlook.
it would be logical to stop there and see what comes out of this move. i think, and i'm coming back to where you started, we should think about russia and its future. this soviet restoration is crucially important for any prospects of putin's regime. it might be that by mere putin's russia will follow the same path. there will be some economic catastrophe. because the question is, what happens next. not what brings down the current receipt -- regime, but what happens after the current regime? the soviet people with their anti-western mindset still admired the west as consumers. the same phenomenon is observed in today's russia.
brandishing their patriotic feelings does not prevent them from relying on imports almost in every aspect of their daily experience. anyone who can afford to go abroad for shopping or were some -- tourism will do it. the population might welcome more engagement with the west. they have the hope of achieving a higher living standard. but it becomes too risky. historical parallels become too risky. painful memories of the interior collapse are still too fresh. the ukrainian crisis has reopened the old sores. it did not heal any wounds. the contrary was the case. russia remains extremely fragile. this is not good news for anyone who wants to be democratic or peaceful. [applause] >> thank you very much.
that was dr. morozov from the university of tartu in estonia. our final speaker is an associate at harvard university. >> thank you. my main expertise is in military. i will start by talking about the russian military operations. i will expand a little bit on a couple of the things that were touched on. the "why now" aspect. i will talk about the u.s. policy and response and some of the policy implications of where this might be going. as far as the military operation, we have to remember
one key fact that makes crimea very different from the rest of ukraine. there is a relatively large contingent of russian troops that are based there by treaty and by agreement long before any of these events happened. the normal contingent that was there is about 14,000. primarily navy personnel. it also includes some naval air forces.me naval it was relatively easy to augment those forces with special forces troops. russia did bring them into the existing base without it being as noticeable as it might have
been in other parts of ukraine or elsewhere. as we remember from tv, they could take off their insignia appearance as little green men. in russian social media, they were the "polite people." they occupy key locations around ukrainian military bases. areas that connect crimea to the rest of ukraine will stop -- ukraine. this could be done very quickly. it was done very quickly. it was done before people knew what was going on. that was the key for the success of the operation. by the time the ukrainian government, which was not the
most organized, had taken over, saw what was going on, they were already in effective control of most of the key facilities. what this tells us about the russian military is that special forces are very well-trained and equipped. they can carry out covert operations effectively. we should be careful because this does not necessarily speak to the quality of the entire military force. we should not make assumptions that a lot of the other brigade s and other forces in russia have a much lower state of readiness. the forces that were brought into crimea came from the
southern military district. it is one of russia's or military district of that is where they have expected combat or the past 10 years. in chechnya, the war with georgia, -- the war with georgia, various counterterrorism unit. there are relatively few conscripts. a lot of units don't have any, but relatively few. the most modern equipment goes there first. interesting, there was a kind of divergent tactic used where there were these highly publicized exercises that were conducted by the western military district around eastern ukraine. there were lots of troops supposedly being used. everyone pay attention over here, while at the same time, troops from the southern military district -- if you follow the open press, it is
like there was nothing going on there. they were the ones who were brought in together with some airborne forces. so that is how it was done. it is ato remember fairly small number of truth -- troops at that level. if you look at other russian forces, a of the brigade commanding levels of worry percent or 60% -- 40%-60%. what i am trying to say is just because russia has highly effective troops, we should not assume that it has 750,000 highly effective. -- highly effective troops. that is something to keep in mind. there are also some serious limitations on command and control and logistics, which would make sustained operations much more difficult to carry out
than a quick strike like this. this did not involve any work -- any war-fighting. in terms of the implications for what we know about russian military capabilities, they can plan a good operation and do it well. but we have not learned that much about how the russian military would function in an actual serious conflicts, especially over a period of time. i will leave it at that. i will leave the military aside for now. i want to -- i am mostly -- i had a few points on why putin did this and i cross them off as -- i crossed we went through them off as them.
this is good. it is nice to be thinking along the same lines. i think there is an obvious question of "why now?" it feeds into what i think is an important corrective that needs to be made to a lot of commentary. that is that this is not a victory for putin. this is a loss for putin. when we look at everything together -- if we look at putin's position at various points in time when yanukovych agreed to go with putin and not sign the agreement, he thought he had ukraine. in february, when the protesters -- when he thought he had a deal with yanukovych, there was instability.
it looked like he had all of ukraine. suddenly, ukraine is lost. so, what happens is, and this goes to the why now question, and we mentioned briefly, "why now?" it is because you have to sadly make the best of a bad situation. that is where this tactical reaction to losing ukraine is to take what you can get. crimea is relatively easy to get. not only does that reduce the below in a way, it also destabilizes ukraine in the
short term. there are benefits for putin there. to me, it is a miscalculation. unless ukraine has changed a lot, it seems to me that the government was right for a -- was ripe situation that was for a similar to what had the orangeter revolution. there were disparate elements in the coalition. they would fall relatively quickly. the russian government could choose one or more of them to make an alliance with or buy off. then they could restore their position to some kind of equilibrium. had it not intervened. by intervening, as we heard, they unite the rest of ukraine against the attacker.
assistance from the west. it also provides a lot moreassistance from the west. i think that was the miscalculation. that is where we get into some of these ideological and his -- and historical factors that prevent purely rational calculation and lead to some of these issues. i do not have a lot of time, but i want to get to some of the u.s.-based policies. i think that the obama administration has handled this pretty well. it was not initially clear -- now, sitting back after crimea has been annexed, we can say, of course. he was going to take over
crimea. that was not clear initially. by warning of serious consequences while allowing for putin to de-escalate was the right course of action. as it became clearer and clearer that de-escalation was not on the table, we are seeing the ramping up of sanctions. the second part of that is that some people say that sanctions are not hurting enough. the administration looks weak. i am not seeing what the alternatives are from those critics. i do not think that military intervention is on the table. nor should it be.
there aren't -- i do not see what the alternatives are. serious sanctions are at the same time, the best sanctions are the ones that do not hit the average russian. it is not their fault. hitting the regime is exactly the right target. >> more, if we did implement affect thehat average russian, this would make it easier for putin to rally the population around the flag. whereas what i see going forward now is that sanctions will hurt the elite. at the same time, our conception in the u.s. and europe of what russia is about and what russian
foreign policy is about has fundamentally changed. that will affect how -- the willingness of the west to invest in russia. that will cause economic pain to russia. it will not be directly blamed on the west. there will be less investment. the russian stock market is down. it may rise in the future, but this is going to be priced in, so it will be at a lower level. europe is going -- there will be steps to reorient away from dependence on russian energy. that will take time. but again, it is going to cause economic pain to those russian elites. that is why i think this is the right direction.
it is not just a slap on the wrist. it is going to have some consequences. let me conclude by talking about some of the risks for the future. i see short-term risks, medium risks, and long-term risks. short-term risks, and the obvious one is instability. it seems pretty clear that there are russian intelligence type agents in eastern ukraine working with locals to create instability. it will be very difficult, but government to stabilize that very important for the ukrainian government to stabilize that situation. the second risk is in crimea. that has been alluded to.
the crimean tatar population. this is a population of about 300,000 people. they are not happy with the way things are. it is possible that they could be bought off. i do not know. i have not talked to them. there's going to be the source of instability for wresting -- four russian control of crimea. there is also some number of ukrainian patriots still in crimea. some have fled, but some are there. those are the short-term risks. the medium risks are the key. one of the big things for me that is coming out of his speech that -- putin's speech was the
statement about defending ethnic russians outside russian borders. that is a huge threat to a whole bunch of countries. obviously, ukraine, khazakstan, we mentioned the baltic states. this creates a security threat to the region. potentially, if carried out it , has broader implications for the international borders. there are lots of countries that have ethnic minorities that live in other countries. china. hungary. this is something that if russia
does not back away from -- putin talked about domestic issues. this is essentially operationalizing regular people living their regular lives as a potential fifth column. they will now be treated with suspicion. that is very dangerous. that is a huge risk. to go with that, there are potential efforts to piggyback on annexing other countries. that also could create more instability. in the long term, and i will not speak too much about this, but the economic situation for ukraine is something that has to be dealt with. i think the way that ukraine wins in the long run is to become more attractive as a place to be than crimea is in